Dear Mr. Crichton Smith,
how our languages mourn you.
Though the cottages on Kerrara Sound
are stoical in their grief
the lilt in the Minches’ mouths
and the songs in the eyes of the lochans
moored in Lewis’ peat
fade like exiles.
And when the west wind stoops
who comforts the east-bowed tree?
Dear Mr. Crichton Smith
our languages have linked hands
to chorus your eulogy –
steering your clinker-built word-boat
beyond the harbour wall,
circumnavigating the speechless world,
what were you dreaming of?
What tidal wave found you?
The sea is an anarchy of grief;
dear Mr. Crichton Smith
did you never wish yourself cow-dumb;
not double-blessed, not
shaken by poem-speak?